CONTEXT: A message purportedly from the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, is currently making the rounds on WhatsApp. The message alleged that the DG was available to authorize payments from the COVID-19 survival funds.
Part of the message reads: “…Congrats! You have been selected and qualified for N80,000 survival funds from the Federal Government Program.” After revealing the approved banks to include FCMB, Keystone, Union, Unity, TAJ and Zenith banks, it also urged beneficiaries to drop their account numbers and contact one Mr Ken Balogun on a phone number provided.
FACT-CHECKING PROCESS: Background checks by fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development revealed that it is not the first time this kind of claim, especially as regards the disbursement of COVID-19 relief funds, will flood the internet.
In April 2022, Daily Trust also fact-checked some of these claims and found them to be false. This is in addition to former fact checks of this nature conducted by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD). Similarly, the research also showed that such adverts and notices are issued specifically by fraudsters to defraud unsuspecting members of the public.
NCDC is the national public health institute for Nigeria. It is a federal government agency under the Federal Ministry of Health, with its headquarters in Abuja. The agency’s goal is to protect Nigerians from the impact of communicable diseases through the coordination of public health preparedness, surveillance, laboratory, and response functions for all infectious diseases.
Fact-checkers also found out in the course of investigating the claim that, those perpetrating this fraud have changed their antics to include varying the amounts they claim are to be paid to beneficiaries and giving the alleged grant different names.
Further research showed that there is no official message or communication from the Dr Ifedayo Adetifa or his office authorizing such payments. It could also be noticed from the WhatsApp message in circulation, that the NCDC DG’s name was not spelt correctly, which confirmed doubts as to the authenticity of the viral post.
CONCLUSION: Facts at our disposal negate the claim that the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, is disbursing N80,000 as a COVID-19 survival fund to Nigerians.
Members of the general public are advised to be cautious and ask questions from informed individuals when in doubt and they should also be wary of sharing their bank account details with unknown persons as fraudsters have perfected ways to defraud citizens, the world over.